Health Notes

The Stress Of Raynaud’s Syndrome


A friend who suffered from episodes of cold, numb or tingling hands and feet due to Raynaud’s syndrome says a Tibetan herbal medicine, Padma Circosan, has given significant relief. Raynaud’s is triggered by cold temperatures (sufferers should wear warm gloves and socks, especially during cold weather) and also by stress and anxiety.

The condition occurs because blood vessels go into temporary spasm, which blocks blood flow. Padma Circosan has a UK Traditional Herbal Registration Certificate (£16.95). Read More…

Building Up Resistance


Q. Our four-year-old daughter has spent four nights in hospital with pneumonia. She is taking a seven-day course of antibiotics with Calpol. What can we give her to build up her resistance?

A. When she finishes the antibiotics, pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends taking the herb astragalus to strengthen her immune system and fight infections. Try Eclectic Kids Astragalus Alcohol Free Tincture for Kids (£12). She should take a weight-related dose as directed three times daily for one month. Do not use astragalus if she has a temperature. Read More…

Suffering From PMS


Q. My daughter appears to be suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), is there a test she could take and would the herb agnus castus be appropriate to try?

A. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (, ‘Forty per cent of women experience PMS symptoms. Of those, five to eight per cent suffer severely. PMS encompasses psychological sympyoms such as depression, anxiety and irritability, with physical symptoms typically bloatedness and mastalgia [breast pain].’ Read More…

Cuts And Grazes


Q. I tripped recently and tore a layer of skin off both my knees. I realised that I didn’t know the protocol for dealing with this small but painful injury. What should I do next time?

A. Most cuts and grazes are minor and can easily be treated at home, according to NHS Choices ( Here is a guide:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Stop any bleeding Apply pressure using a clean, dry, absorbent material (eg, a flannel, hanky or piece of bandage) for several minutes. If the cut is on your hand or arm, raise it above your head; if to a lower limb, lie down and raise the affected area above the level of your heart.
  • Clean the wound under running tap water (if you are abroad, ensure it is drinking quality). Don’t use antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing. If there are any residual fragments of grit, remove them with tweezers.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean towel and apply a sterile adhesive dressing, eg, a plaster (waterproof plasters mean you can take a shower). Change the dressing daily if possible.
  • Encourage faster healing with a specific product such as Sheald Recovery Balm (£43), which can be applied to open wounds.
  • Go to your GP or minor injuries unit if you think your wound is, or could become, infected. Go to your nearest A&E if you cannot stop the bleeding or if the wound is large – particularly if it is on your face or the palm of your hand. Check with NHS 111 if you need further medical advice.

Read More…

Foods To Lift Your Mood


Neuroscientist and leadership coach Dr Tara Swart, who is conducting a year-long study on mental resilience among selected staff and guests at London’s Corinthia Hotel, emphasises the information superhighway between your gut and mood. Around 90 per cent of the body’s serotonin, the mood-balancing neurotransmitter, is found in the gut. So, as mental health charity Mind ( suggests, eating food to balance gut bacteria (eg, live yoghurt, fruit, vegetables and whole grains) is vital. Research has also shown that people who took a probiotic supplement for a month experienced fewer negative thoughts. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Florassist Mood, which contains two probiotic strains shown to influence gut-nervous system signalling, with positive effects on mood.

Omega-3 fats, found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables, are also an essential brain food, says Dr Swart. She also says that stress causes the vital mineral magnesium to leech from our bodies, so advises clients to take a supplement. Shabir Daya suggests Solgar Wild Alaskan Full Spectrum Omega and Neuro-Mag.


Happiness describes a lovely state of mind that we all want, but sometimes feel is out of reach. Feeling happy is both about experiencing an ongoing state of contentment with your life (and coping with bad things when they happen), and exulting in moments of joy. With both of these, there are factors you can influence positively.

When mother of two Nicola Elliott, 38, found that her life as a ‘crazy, 60-hour-a-week’ magazine journalist was making her constantly anxious and putting her wellbeing in jeopardy, she retrained as an aromatherapist and nutritionist.

‘I was surrounded by other women who were stressed, sleeping badly and had plummeting energy,’ says Nicola. ‘So I began creating pure essential-oil blends and tinctures to help us all. The most popular one was called Tranquillity, which I made for my sister who was having trouble sleeping.’ Those kitchen-table products led to Nicola and business partner Oliver Mennell launching Neom Organics in 2005 with the aim of helping people to manage their wellbeing.

Last year, Neom created The Happiness Programme. As well as its Scent to Make You Happy range (from candles and bath products to the Mood Lifting On The Go Mist, much appreciated by my colleagues), it has now created The Guide To Happiness ebook. Written by Neom’s wellbeing experts, it provides bitesize but well-researched information and practical tips on everything from psychology and diet to mindfulness and meditation. It is really impressive and helpful. (See right for Nicola’s mood-boosting tips.)

To give YOU readers a flying start to the New Year, Neom is offering a free Nourish, Breathe & Smile Hand Balm, worth £15, to the first 250 readers to register on In addition, Neom is offering a 20 per cent discount on all products, plus a free The Guide to Happiness ebook for every reader. To get your exclusive discount code and free ebook download, visit*.


Get plenty of fresh air every day. It’s sometimes hard to leave your desk, but try to nip out, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

Turn off all tech at allotted times each day. I try to do this between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, so that I can give my children my full attention.

Phone a friend. If you’re time-poor, it’s easy to use social media as your default communication mode. Actually talking to my friends and family makes me feel happy.

Choose exercise you enjoy – that’s swimming and running for me – and do it for your mind as well as your thighs. Exercise triggers brain chemicals that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress.

Make time to do something just for you, whether that’s reading (I’m a total bookworm), listening to music, lying in a scented bath, walking in a green space or simply daydreaming.



Q My granddaughter, aged eight, suffers from inflammation round the outside of her vagina, which is not responding to the doctor’s treatment for thrush.

A The irritation may be a reaction to ingredients in cleansing body products, including bubble bath and gel wash. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends trying Salcura Bioskin Junior products, which use natural oils to soothe sore inflamed skin and include Face & Body WashBath Milk and a topical Outbreak Rescue Cream. Read More…